3 Reasons Simultaneous Interpreting May Be Right for Your Event

At many large events — in particular international conferences — planners rely on simultaneous interpreting to keep discussions flowing smoothly between multilingual participants.

Simultaneous interpreting involves isolated interpreters (usually working in groups or teams) who listen to a presentation in one language and then relay the speech in a target language as the presentation continues. The target audience listens on headsets, or in another closed room over a PA system.

Here are 3 reasons simultaneous interpreting may be right for your next event.

1. Simultaneous interpreting preserves the flow of presentations.

Since the speaker isn’t required to pause while the interpreter speaks to the audience, simultaneous interpreting preserves the flow of the conversation. This is an especially important point when a speaker is not relying on a pre-written talk, or likes to improvise.

Most importantly, simultaneous interpreting saves time. Pausing the presentation to allow an interpreter to relay sections in the target language (or consecutive interpreting) doubles the amount of time necessary to give a talk. If you have a tight schedule, this will quickly become a major problem.

2. Simultaneous interpreting keeps the whole audience focused.

Just as simultaneous interpreting preserves the flow of ideas, it also allows audiences to focus on the presenter. Imagine reading a book where you pause for a few minutes after every paragraph!

Chances are, the audience will remember what they heard far more easily (and make more connections) if they aren’t distracted by long pauses in the presentation.

Another (and less obvious) benefit is that since the audience is wearing headphones, they’re far more likely to listen closely and not get sidetracked by noises in the auditorium, by cell phones, or by the many other distractions in modern meeting halls.

3. Simultaneous interpreting better serves large events

Setting up an audio system for each small or informal meeting is obviously a hassle, and a great expense if your organization doesn’t possess the infrastructure (or staff) for isolated interpreters at each meeting.

But for larger events, the wireless listening system required by simultaneous interpreters (and often provided by the venue or a rental agency) possesses one clear advantage: you can add as many listeners as you want (even listeners in remote locations), provided you have enough receivers.

Simultaneous interpreting is an important ingredient in your event plan.

Above all, if you’re planning an event that will require an interpreter of some kind, plan ahead – and be sure that your interpreting needs are high on your planning checklist!

Have you planned an event using interpreters? Which method did you choose, and how? Tell us below!